Paleolithic: Human evolution in the Paleolithic Age

Paleolithic, etymologically, means old stone. Prehistoric first used the term to describe a time when tools were made by carving stones. Paleolithic Age is the longest period in prehistoric and major known deposits are located in Europe (France, Germany and Spain), Africa (Tanzania and the Mediterranean) and Asia (north of the Arabian Peninsula and Beijing).

The first period of the Paleolithic knows very little because the only information that can be obtained is practically coming out of the rough stones that are often difficult to classify.

Middle Paleolithic deposits and is rich in a wide variety of tools so that information can be obtained from them are higher but still limited.

Skull in Gibraltar (Ethnology Museum of Madrid), on a Neanderthal (Homo sapiens group) female who lived in the Middle Paleolithic

It needs to look at Homo sapiens Upper Paleolithic in order to provide an overview of how the lives of these people were able to show up

Economy and society in the Palaeolithic age

Thousands of years ago, prehistoric humans were merely imitating what they saw around them. Like any living thing, they were limited to take from nature what they needed, since agriculture and livestock continued for a long time to come to be dominated. Fruits and hunting wild animals that live in the environment were the only means of subsistence.

Residents of Paleolithic were, therefore, hunters and gatherers. Their relationship with nature was fully dărăpănătoare and practice a subsistence economy.
Everything was happening in their lives revolved around these activities, and if the environment could not find enough habitat were forced to migrate elsewhere, forcing them to practice a nomadic life to provide food.

The social structure in the Paleolithic age was conditioned by the needs of survival.

Between humans and animals must remain a kind of ecological balance, so the survival of the species is guaranteed. Therefore, no need to break this balance, people had to move every time hunting was not enough.

This economic system or, if you prefer, this relationship with nature has conditioned many aspects of Paleolithic man.

Regardless of the fact that man is a social species, seeking to live in the group soon discovered that hunting of large mammals (mammoth, reindeer, bison, deer, etc.) was easier if they have worked for many people, to one.

Capturing these animals it was often made by traps (large potholes, for example) that require too much work for one person. On the other hand, it does not make sense to hunt mammoth to feed a single individual. In this way, social groups were about 20 or 30 individuals.

This seemingly low number was ideal to prepare traps, eating meat hunted and also to move easily from one place to another in search of food.

This constant change of residence shows that Paleolithic man was not placed in permanent settlements, and therefore did not build houses with durable materials. Forced to chase prey, he simply raised or simple cottages sought natural sanctuaries such as caves or rock shelters.

We do not know if social groups organized a hierarchy of power, but it is easy to assume that those individuals better prepared to hunt or more ingenuity to prepare traps had to exercise some control functions to organize tasks aimed at obtaining food.

Although it is a form very timid, there must be a certain division of labor, that the strongest individuals pledged to hunt and prepare their weapons, and women, who were also responsible for children should take care of preparing skins and harvesting tasks plants and fruits.

In short, attributions were distributed according to the ability of each group member. Regarding the origin of these groups, it is likely that they were family clans with a common ancestor.

In terms of the Upper Paleolithic age, they have formed meetings of various clans in some areas to form a tribe.

Paleolithic: Mentality and thinking in the Paleolithic Age

To determine which was the mentality and concerns that occupied the mind of man from the Paleolithic must appeal, as in other areas, the remains known about the activities of these people di Paleolithic age. These remains, whether tools or artistic, have a universal constant: animals.

If we consider that more than 35% of people under the age of 20 years and that only five out of 100 managed to overcome 40 years, it will be easy to understand nutrition, or survival, fundamental of these nomadic hunters.

The animal was, therefore, a symbol of life; if there were animals, survival was assured.

Bison, animal Paleolithic

A carved buffalo horn reindeer (Madeleine – France)

Thus, early Upper Paleolithic, when the first artistic events, which are presented as drawings of animals.

Uncommon, but first moments when art appears, are schematic drawings of male and female gender or sculptures so-called “Venus” (female statuettes with very marked sexual characters).

If animals represented means food and therefore the possibility of life, “Venus” and gender representations meant fertility, that desire, and guarantee that clan may have enough members to ensure their survival and mutual assistance.

The strength of each clan depends on whether its membership has not decreased and food have not lessened. Paleolithic man, reflected from a very early age these concerns, even in his early artistic events.

It is difficult to determine whether these people now 30 000 or 40 000 years have developed a kind of religion. It is possible for them to worship the forces of nature or some animal species that were highly dependent (like other primitive peoples who have survived to this day).

However, the analysis suggests artistic forms created more magical than religious practices. Animal representations were made or engraved on whalers or painted on cave walls.

Paleolithic shows that man paleolithic considered animal head carved handle ax, gives more power against that animal he doing nothing but practicing a ritual through which thought became pet owner by possession image its.

These sculptures and drawings depicted on the walls of caves gave them paleolithic people thinking that they had the spirit of the animal and hunting would have been more favorable.

If the cave paintings were a work of magical rituals, “Venus” fertility would have been magical amulets to promote procreation. The character of these statues is given its small size (10-12 cm), making them objects for personal use.

It is difficult to interpret the rituals that were practiced by the end of the Middle Paleolithic. The funeral is abundant in the Paleolithic, and those that were found offers features so specific that only allow inferring that the Palaeolithic in these people has been a concern for death which made them bury their colleagues.

However, glancing in the Paleolithic age, and the Middle Paleolithic no evidence of different religions around these skulls, though not know what symbolism could have these rituals.

Paleolithic: gear manufacturing techniques in the Palaeolithic Age

Hunting activities of Paleolithic man led him to deal almost exclusively manufacture weapons for capturing prey and manufacture of small tools for cutting meat or tanneries. The material used for their utensils was stone, so-called lithic industry (Greek LEOAMPA stone).

It is logical to think that the time of Homo habilis was first used many tools of wood, but they did not pass the test of time and became mere fossilized remains.

Stone tools from the Paleolithic period some common characteristics:

  • it is carved tools and carving method used, the degree of perfection and meticulous work, so they can be set at different stages of their stone gravel to between culture Paleolithic era

The lower Paleolithic, Homo habilis begin to produce crude tools, giving rise to so-called gravel culture.

These are simple stones that, when hit, break and thus provides a cutting edge; The method is improved when the rock is hit on both sides to produce a sharpened edge, although it is still hard.

sharp rock Paleolithic age

Production of these early instruments meant for thousands of years, the only manifestation of the production capacity of people still lagging behind.

At the end of the Lower Palaeolithic process improvement tools manmade accelerated significantly technique flakes.

This technique, which gave us the best examples of stone tools consisted in hitting a nucleus, usually made of flint or quartzite, with the intention of removing a fragment that provides tip surface which was subsequently retouched multiple small strokes and precise.

Thus they were obtained which could be shaped axes and scrapers for leather tanning works.

The Middle Paleolithic, stone tools were diversified and improved. Often, scrapers and knives were introduced at the end of a broken bone, which served as a handle.

Different tools built with bone during Magdalenian or late Paleolithic age

In the Upper Paleolithic, carving techniques have reached full development.

Such spears have been made or the arrow tips, sickles, knives, handle axis, the first axes, and bone hooks. Most of these tools have already a genuine specialized function because of a perfect finish.

The appearance was a revolution in art spring hunting

During this period when the first spring. This invention has brought a revolution in the art of hunting since they injure the animal without having to go near him.

This advantage, together with greater capacity lethal darts over other weapons significantly promote hunting and ought to contribute to population growth that occurs at the end of the Upper Paleolithic.

Paleolithic: housing techniques and fire in the Palaeolithic Age

It seems clear that the fire has been used by man since the Paleolithic inferior, but it is not known from when he dominated.

Fear and dread of harboring those beings, hiding on hearing thunder and its manifestation powerful as lightning, went into another phase of search and knowledge to use those energies.

Originally supposed to take fire from fires that occur in storms and rays would have long maintained on.

The discovery of any system which would be produced a flame could be the result of chance (such as spark produced when hitting a stone from which the obtained tools his) or experience (heating by friction), but in any case, the possession of these techniques and, above all, dissemination must have been a load of hundreds or thousands of years.

The fire was originally used to warm to illuminate and cast irons caves or places of residence. Use to roast venison used later and cooking techniques were not developed until the Neolithic.

Regarding forms of habitation from the Paleolithic period, they were used as natural sanctuaries (rock shelters and caves) and chalets or huts made by men. These cabins are generally circular or oval, and the materials used branches and trunks, covered, sometimes clay.

In areas where vegetation Arbor was not abundant, they built huts of mud and in Siberia, a kind of tent with animal skins that allow installation and removal of camps faster and thus could better pursue reindeer, which changed constantly looking places pastures.

All these structures are common features in not distinguish walls and roof (what differentiates a hut of a house), to adapt to the environment in terms of construction materials and works to be simple to host a nomadic life, be easily built or transported.

Paleolithic: artistic manifestations Paleolithic Age

The first artistic manifestations of prehistoric man show in Upper Paleolithic and, depending on the medium used or the materials or objects that occurred can be classified into two categories:

  1. Art parietal (wall)
  2. Art furniture (objects)

Paleolithic: parietal art in the Palaeolithic Age

Commonly referred to as ” cave painting ” is made of paintings or engravings and is used to support the walls of caves and rock shelters; It is located fundamentally in southern France and along the Cantabrian Mountains in Spain.

Paintings first appeared in the Aurignacian period, but are confusing, difficult to identify. The Solutrean period must wait in order to find pictorial representations defined.

However, the great period of painting paleolithic is the Magdalenian period, which are the best paintings of Lascaux, Font-de-Gaume, Rouffignac and Les Trois Freres in France; or those of Altamira, Puente Viesgo, Pind Peña Candamo, Tito Bustillo and Parpalló in Spain.

Paintings of Altamira (Spain) dating from the Paleolithic age

In most of these caves were discovered paintings or engravings belonging to periods earlier than the Magdalenian period (last period of the Upper Paleolithic), but the best and most abundant representations they are are the Magdalenian period.

Hunts and magical practices Paleolithic were faithfully reflected in these caves, the predominant theme is animals. Creative ability was enormous, as the number of representations. The animals were represented horse and buffalo, deer and elephants followed by (mammoth elephant).

Representations of human bodies whole are very few, not as representations hand painted directly or negative (placing the hand on the rock was painted around her, leaving her figure). There are many drawings of signs or traces of unknown significance.

From a technical standpoint, you Distinction three types of representation:

  • polychrome painting,
  • monochrome
  • and engraving (with or without painting).

They emphasize the polychrome representations commonly used black outline and details such as eyes and other colors to plump figure.

To obtain the raw material of various colors used paleolithic artists have used what nature gave them, and some techniques for preparing raw pigment. They use different types of earth ocher, iron oxide (limonite and hematite) to yellow and red, manganese dioxide and carbon black and white gypsum.

These pigments have been mixed with crushed stone and substances such as fat, resin or blood, which acted as a binder, giving the mixture a paste-liquid texture which allowed it to stretch and to fix the rock.

Application pigment directly with your fingers or using sticks with a flattened end, a spatula or brush made of horsehair. A technique sometimes used to blow hollow bones, which allow spraying of paint on the walls.

To highlight the contours of animals and gain volume stone reliefs taken advantage of in order to show some of the silhouettes of the animal, providing a more accurate representation, allowing us to talk about the natural character of these paintings.

Paleolithic: Art furniture in the Palaeolithic Age

It was discovered on the surface of tools or objects whose utility agreed we do not know (such as the so-called “control sticks”) horn, bone, ivory or stone. Diffusion coincides with that of cave art while extending a little more the central, northern Italy and some points of the Russo-Siberian.

Most of these artistic manifestations are engravings and sculptures representing animals (especially horses, like mural painting) or sexual signs. All these items of furniture art are reduced scale, suggesting that they were pieces that man or woman you wear them.

Art furniture offers authentic samples of composition were produced when the figure should represent an animal on a concrete surface (bone or horn).

Venus sculpture paleolithical age

A sculpture “Venus” Paleolithic

These are small statuettes of female sexual well-developed characters that were found in France, Central Europe, Italy, and Russia. Some of these small sculptures have achieved a remarkable level of geometric abstraction, as in the case of Venus Lespugue (France). They emphasize, along with it, on that of Willendorf (Germany) and that of Grimaldi (Italy).

ARTICLE:  Paleolithic: Human evolution in the Palaeolithic age 

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